Service structure: Doctors block Jail Road in new round of protests

Published: September 6, 2012
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The YDA protest was peaceful, but caused traffic gridlock around the city. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

The YDA protest was peaceful, but caused traffic gridlock around the city. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

The Young Doctors Association (YDA) Punjab blocked Jail Road in front of Services Hospital for around three hours on Wednesday as it kicked off a fresh campaign of protests to push for revisions to the service structure for doctors.

The protest was peaceful, but combined with construction work at Ferozepur Road, caused traffic gridlock around the city. It could have been much worse had it not rained. The YDA had planned to continue the demonstration until the evening, but the 150 or so protesting doctors trudged off when it started raining around 1:30pm.

Earlier this year, YDA doctors went on strike at outpatient departments at public hospitals to press for changes to their service structure. In July, the Lahore High Court instructed the doctors not to boycott their jobs and set up a committee with representatives of the government and various doctors’ groups to negotiate a service structure deal. However, that has still not happened.

YDA officials said that protests and sit-ins were held all over the province. YDA Jinnah Hospital doctors also blocked Canal Bank Road at around 10:30am for a little while before joining the main protest on Jail Road.

The protesters carried placards with their demands while banners demanding changes to the service structure were put up inside Services Hospital and PIC. They staged a sit-in on the road between the Punjab Institute of Cardiology and Race Course Park. However, they did give passage to ambulances heading for the Services Hospital and PIC emergency wards. The district coordination officer had earlier warned that a murder case would be registered against the protesting doctors should a patient die in an ambulance stuck in a traffic jam caused by their sit-in.

Negotiations stalled

YDA Punjab President Dr Hamid Butt said that negotiations between the doctors and the government over changes to the service structure had stalled.

“We have proposed that all ad hoc doctors be put into a pool and then be subject to a uniform policy.

A merit list should be formed and they should be appointed on merit. We have also demanded that the Health Department treat senior registrars who have served for three years as assistant professors. The government hasn’t responded so far,” he said.

Dr Butt said that YDA chapters in Gujrat, Gujranwala, Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi had held demonstrations on Wednesday. He said that all the protests were peaceful and had no affect on the provision of healthcare at public hospitals.

He said that the YDA had not yet decided when to hold demonstrations outside the Chief Minister’s Secretariat or GOR-I, but it would hold such protests if their demands for changes to the service structure were not met.

In Bahawalpur, doctors blocked Circular Road. YDA Punjab Vice Chairman Dr Tanveer Bajwa said that the doctors had been forced to protest by the Punjab government’s refusal to accept their demands. He said everyone had a right to protest.

(Read: Protesting doctors)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Hoo Lee
    Sep 6, 2012 - 2:24PM

    I guess thats all we wanted from docs to not quit their services and protest in any other form as per there basic constitutional right. But still i cant see any body from civil society supporting them, last time many media anchors asked doctors to resume their services and they will protest for them, can you see any anchor standing right next to them?

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  • Wowemkay
    Sep 6, 2012 - 9:41PM

    After personally seeing many serious patients suffer in their inability to reach their doctors without suffering agonising delays, I can only condemn this highly irresponsible and cruel act. I just wish the government would pass a law that only allows processions in single file with any sort of road blockage leading to immediate arrest and jail terms.

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  • SHAHID BUTT
    Sep 7, 2012 - 1:00AM

    Doctors should not come on the street and behave like this. If service structure is not favourable to them. they can resign from their post and find some better alternative if they can.They knew the service structure when they joined the their jobs.No body has stopped them from going to private sector.Coming on the street to protest is unlike of becoming a doctor.

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  • Hoo Lee
    Sep 8, 2012 - 9:54PM

    @ Shahid Butt..What if they quit the job? What alternative we are left with? I mean no body wants to see a Hakeem or an Amil sitting in the Hospital emergency treating patients.For 9 billion ppl in punjab we jyst have 18000 doctors in public sector and you are asking them to quit job as if we have over abundancy in public sector not forgeting the fact that there are 19,000 pakistani doctors in USA alone and then there is a long list of other countries. I know you, me and mojority of ET readers have other options then going to public hospital, atleast think of those who dont have this option.

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  • Shahid Butt
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @Hoo Lee:
    Thanks for responding. You do not have to worry those billions of people who are living in punjab If they decide to see Hakim or half doctors it is their decisions. when a doctor signs contract with govt to serve, he is an EMPLOYEE and GOVT is the EMPLOYER. Employer always have the upper hand. Employee must look into it what he is getting into. If job turn out to be not right kind or benefits are less, he always can find other options. Coming on the street and blocking the traffic is not the answer. Think yourself as EMPLOYER of these DOCTORS. Would you like to give them SALARY for not seeing patients and pay them for coming on the street?..These are EDUCATED PEOPLE of the society. They can fight their case legally in the court.Present situation has nothing to do with pakistani doctors living or working abroad. At the end of the day it is always the ECONOMICS.If there are only 18000 docttors for nine Billion people in Punjab then it is the BEST opportunity for all 18000 doctors to go into PRIVATE PRACTICE and work DAY AND NIGHT and make money but also pay TAXES on this money to the GOVT(VERY IMPORTANT). By the way I am a doctor too. May be I should come back to Pakistan. This could be a dream opportunity but I am now all settled and counting my days. Every day is a blessing day. For that I am thankful to GOD.

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  • Hoo Lee
    Sep 9, 2012 - 12:41PM

    @Shahid Butt..
    If i am not wrong its the responsibility of state to provide the citizens health care services, so its states responsibility to make sure they have enough doctors to serve the ppl and according to what you sujjest letting these doctors we gonna waste our own investment, not forgetting the fact that we pay a huge amount for their studies. Talking about legal route, when was the last time heard any good thing happened in our courts. What i remember is these young lads are protesting for last five years and all they want is service structure, why dont we give them :) the single simple most solution.And that employer , employee thiing ever heard about job security ?

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